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Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through Autism's Unique Perspectives
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Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through Autism's Unique Perspectives

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  634 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Born with autism, both Temple Grandin and Sean Barron now live famously successful social lives. However, their paths were quite different. Temple's logical mind controlled her social behavior. She interacted with many adults and other children, experiencing varied social situations. Logic informed her decision to obey social rules and avoid unpleasant consequences. Sean's ...more
Paperback, 2017 Revised Edition, 425 pages
Published April 1st 2017 by Future Horizons, Inc. (first published December 1st 2004)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  634 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Petra Eggs
I think I've read most, if not all, of Temple Grandin's books and a lot of her papers too. I did prefer her writing before she became the 'official' voice of autism by autistic people.

This book was just so weird. To have social rules dissected by those who have learned them and not absorbed them innately is a bit like having an alien come down and start describing our society to us. I had wanted to read the book because I find difficulty getting on with people and reading social clues and wonde
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I'm perplexed by the bad reviews. The writing format where it switches from editor to Grandin to Sean- well folks it says, "Grandin says" so if you are confused by that, I don't know what to say.
I am not autistic or on the spectrum, but definitely am socially awkward due to my ideas of how people should be vs how they are.
I found parts of this book helpful and it gave me good insight into situations where I may have had awkward social situations and why that would be so. It also gave
Hawthorn M
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aspergers
I honestly expected a bit more insight from this book, but it was hard to get past the tone of the authors and the strange format of the writing. Switching back and forth between Grandin and Barron, with random notations from the editor, was confusing. Not to mention that I was totally turned off when Grandin started talking about how peachy keen it was to grow up in the '50s. I get that prescribed etiquette makes things easier, but the only people that had it nice in that era were crackers of a ...more
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had thought this was going to an insightful book about human social relationships, pointing out things that we all sort of know but rarely realize or acknowledge, taking the outsider's viewpoint of someone with autism to make it overt. And it is that, but only a little bit. It's mostly a guidebook for parents and teachers of autistic people on how they think and how to educate them, and for the autists themselves on how to act. Written with that intention made it excessively repetitive, as wel ...more
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-science
Let me start with: I really really like Temple Grandin, so I'm a little biased. I read all her books, and always feel I've learned something, usually about perspective and perception.

On the one hand, this wasn't my favorite. I thought the co-authoring was managed a bit awkwardly. It was also illuminating, providing a second perspective as well as reinforcing the point that autism is different for every autistic person. I also felt the authors lingered on the introductory/background material too
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a well written, easy read. The stories and advice of the two authors are interwoven in such a way to provide alternate perspectives. Grandin is logical. Barron is emotional. The authors offer practical advice in compensating for literal rigid thinking, anxiety by adjusting diet and increasing flexibility and learning social rules. Grandin speaks frankly. I learned much about myself and other people.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
There is such a multitude of ways to interact with other people. Many of them just don't work. This book tells of their experiences growing up, what they learned from it, and distilled it down to 10 "rules" for navigating scial relationships. 

Here are a few of my observations:
- Austitics tend to think in black and white.
- They often have a problem with anger management.
- It often runs in families.
- If everyone was socially adept, we might have a lot fewer things designed and built.

The ten unwrit
Rick Alimonti
I have been studying autism and Aspergers in anticipation of writing a children's book addressing Autism Spectrum Disorders ("ASD")on a very basic level to help children understand and interact with those on the ASD spectrum.

I found this book very helpful, with some qualifications. First, it is told through the perspective of two individuals with ASD, and I think you have to be careful about extrapolating too much into the ASD population as a whole. Clearly, what worked for Sean and Temple might
A fascinating but frustrating book. Co-written by two high-functioning people with autism, it's written mostly for adults caring for children with autism and explains what social rules they might have a hard time understanding and how to teach them. The authors are very interesting reading when they explain the thought processes of people with ASD, although they are prone to blanket assertions about neurotypical thought patterns that I'm not comfortable with (neurotypical people intuitively unde ...more
Aug 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, asd
I have had this book on my wish list for quite a while and am so glad that I finally read it. Although the way the text switches back and forth between the two authors and the editor was a bit disconcerting at times, I did appreciate having the perspectives of these two very different people brought together in one discussion on this important topic. The book is aimed primarily at parents and educators of children with autism, but I believe it could be very helpful to teenagers or adults with au ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recently, Dr. Temple Grandin appeared on the "Katie" show on NBC. The topic for the day was autism, and Dr. Grandin is considered an expert in the field -- because not only does she have autism, but she had the courage to put her voice out there to let others know that autism does not sentence you to a life that lacks fulfillment! Temple Grandin is today one of the most trusted design engineers in the cattle industry in the United States and Canada. My oldest son is high functioning autistic, b ...more
Jeanie Greer
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who loves an Aspie
Recommended to Jeanie by: No one
Shelves: completed
I learned a lot from this their perspectives on the social world for people with autism. So much of the things they wrote about come naturally to the non autistic, but really do need to be taught, talked about and explained to the person with autism. I recommend this book to anyone who knows, works with, associates with anyone on the spectrum.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-authors
This book did not live up to what I hoped it would be. Maybe that's my fault. It is mainly aimed at the parents and teachers of ASD children about developing social skills at s young age. I skimmed through a lot of it.

The format of the book is also very strange.It almost seems like the two co authors wrote their own books independently and it was up to the editor to splice them together with their own comments. On top of that, each of the authors cuts into their own text with "2017 updated comme
Katie Nelson
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've heard Temple Grandin speak in person before and I've read another one of her books, but this one was not really up to par in my opinion. Her co-author Sean was less enjoyable for me. They both have autism and they are both sharing important information so I do appreciate that. My own son has autism and he often talks about how hard it is to pick up on social cues. He was excited that I was reading this. I did find the list of unwritten rules to be very helpful and I will use those as talkin ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The different perspectives of the two authors distill insights that would be useful to many who find social norms somewhat confusing and irrational.
Joseph Harris
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“If you’ve ever wondered, ‘What is going through my child’s mind? Why can’t he get social interactions?’ then this book is for you! ‘A-ha!’ moments abound.”
Veronica Zysk, editor of Autism/Asperger’s Digest and this book, both published by Future Horizons.

“I wish I had this book when Sean was a child. It would have helped me understand Sean so much more.”
Judy Barron, co-author of There’s A Boy In Here and mother of author Sean Barron.

“I would love to have the ten rules from page 119 as

Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, Goodreads has not acknowledged Sean Bari as the other author of this book. His perspective complements Temple Grandin's well and he deserves recognition for his contribution.

Temple and Sean are high functioning people with autism spectrum disorders, but wildly different phenotypes. In this book, they describe their experiences and how they learned to socially integrate and function. Temple is extremely analytical while Sean is more emotional and intuitive, but they have arrived at similar
Apr 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Solid, helpful information for those who interact with anyone on the spectrum. Because there are similarities with any socially delayed person, several of the ideas will be helpful to me teaching my child with ADHD the social skills that he's lacking.

The structure was difficult for me to navigate. I felt that the information was not well organized and somewhat hard to find, though occasionally important "rules" were printed in italics. I liked the understanding that came from hearing the two dif
Dec 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: farm-related
Was unaware of the second author and read it for insight from Temple Grandin. Was looking for more insight into what the non-autistic spectrum person has as unwritten social rules as thought since she was more aware of them than us I could use her insight to tune into them more - but the book is a continuation of many of her writings found elsewhere with no real insight for non-autistic people into their rules. Typically good Grandin if you follow her, but I found nothing new I had not read by h ...more
Jun 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While verbose with too many restatements, this book did indeed provide unique perspectives. A lot of that perspective was personal testimony by the authors who have autism. Since the symptoms of autism vary in kind and intensity on a wide spectrum, even normal people (called neurotypicals in the book) may display some symptoms. I saw some of myself and some people I know as I read the details. Some instances could be bad education instead of neuronal short circuits. Read this book to understand ...more
Sep 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long time to read this book, for several reasons: life distractions/little reading time, heavy subject matter, need to consider it rather than rush.
It helped me understand better the challenges people on the Autism Spectrum face in daily living - and the CRITICAL IMPORTANCE of parents who insist that children do their VERY best to follow norms, etc.
I skimmed most of this so that I could quickly find the passages that staggered me. Those I pondered and took notes on. Interesting book with two unique viewpoints - Temple and Sean. I'm glad for the exposure and info. I will try to read more from Temple Grandin. Because, now that I have, I think everyone on the internet ought to read at least a little bit about ASD.
Mar 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asperger-autism
This book is completely filled with useful & insightful information. I really enjoyed having both authors' perspectives, since they each experienced autism in different ways. It goes to show that there is no one approach to dealing with neuro-typical society, but there is common ground for all people with ASD.
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with getting through this book. It has a lot of wonderful ideas for parent or parents-to-be, but as I am neither I have tucked it away for future references. I do respect and appreciate Temple's contribution to the atypical's trying to understand and work with those who are on the spectrum, so I will not totally write off her as an author or this as a book.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since my son is an Aspie and trying to get a job, I have been reading a lot of books by Temple Grandin. This one is definitely going to my son. It helps those who have difficulty with understanding social situations by discussing some of what neurotypicals understand intuitively. Thank you, authors, for providing this resource. Now on to my next book: Developing Talents.
Patarapol Withayasakpunt
This book gives me helpful advice on how to be functional socially. It also introduces me to many interesting individuals and books on the subject; thus, it gives me a hell lot of opportunity to learn.

I don't even know if I had autism or not. Still, this is probably quite helpful to me.
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book as it really explains what people feel and think when they have autism. It is written by two people who have different degrees of autism. It explains how they dealt with school, work, family, etc.
Melanie Baker
I only read part of this, since it's really more targeted to people on the spectrum, or friends/family/etc. trying to learn how to socially educate those with ASD.

It's very straightforward and elucidating, though.
Oct 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-checkout
A fascinating look at the rules of interaction that neurotypicals know by instinct or nonverbal learning but autistics have to puzzle out by effort.

I'm particularly struck by Grandin's comments about today's social environment vs. the environment she grew up in.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn't as easy to read as the last two Asperger's books i have read. Once it got to "Act 3" and they started going into detail about each rule, it seemed to delve into each too far so i skimmed the rest of the book. Maybe someday i will read through it completely.
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asperger syndrome 1 17 Jan 06, 2009 05:30PM  
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Temple Grandin, Ph.D., didn't talk until she was three and a half years old, communicating her frustration instead by screaming, peeping, and humming. In 1950, she was diagnosed with autism and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. She tells her story of "groping her way from the far side of darkness" in her book Emergence: Labeled Autistic, a book which stunned the world because, ...more